2006 Senate Elections Report: Predicted Results

There's no shortage of people handicapping the 2006 Senate and House races and, because some of the contests are so filled with nuance and uncertainty, there's a tendency to be vague in predictions and to use words like "leaning" and "possible" when describing likely outcomes.

I'm not going to do that for my critical final picks. In my column today, I'm going to tell you, from two months away, exactly how I see the Senate looking when the ballots are counted on November 7 -- or, perhaps in states where Diebold equipment is used, not counted -- and I'll do it by just flat-out making definitive picks.

No guts, no glory, right?

In parts one and two of this short series handicapping the 2006 Senate races, we looked at all the open seats, added in the people who simply can't lose -- such as Clinton in New York and Hatch in Utah -- and then added the races in which the likely winner appears clear.

We conclude today, by looking at where the rubber truly meets the road in these midterm Senate elections and, if my predictions so far hold true, our running tally now sits at 49 Republicans and 42 Democrats, with just nine races left up in the air.

Bottom line, up front: Democrats have a very daunting task in this election to the extent that they need to pretty much run the table on all the toss-up races to take back the Senate majority and I don't believe that's going to happen. But with the information I have today, and with a large chunk of gut-feel thrown in, I do believe Democrats are going to make a huge leap and the Senate balance in January will be 50-50.

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